OPEN APPEAL OF THE ORGANIZATION “RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF TURKMENISTAN’S CITIZENS” IN CONNECTION WITH THE EFFECTS OF THE NATURAL DISASTER IN LEBAP, MARY AND DASHAGUZ DISTRICTS
Date: 07 May 2020
May 7, 2020
According to our sources inside Turkmenistan, at about 8 pm, on April 27, 2020, a severe hurricane struck Lebap, Mary and Dashaguz districts. The eyewhitnesses reported: the wind speed was such that it tore roofs off houses, tore up trees, took down satellite antennas and turned cars over. We have received the video evidence on the same evening, which can be seen here:
As of today, it is known that in affected areas people died as a result of a natural disaster and there are missing children – it is unknown how many victims there are, but we continue to monitor the situation. The housing of the surviving people was badly damaged, some houses were flooded, power lines were torn down due to which there is still no electricity and water, and the Internet is turned off in Turkmenabad.
The real scale of the tragedy is not yet known, but we believe that there are more victims than we managed to find out from our sources. The authorities have not yet taken any measures to assess the damage, search for missing children and eliminate the humanitarian catastrophe in the affected areas of Turkmenistan. However, arbitrary detention of women who transmitted information about the hurricane and its consequences to the media and to our organization was not long in coming.
On April 30, in the city of Seydi, 30 women were detained on suspicion of high treason, and earlier in the city of Turkmenabad, on April 27, Maral Kasymova and 18 other women were arbitrarily detained. After the appeal to the authorities of Turkmenistan of Yulia Serebryannik, published on the turkmenyurt.tv channel, as far as we know, the detainees were released by local authoiriet, fearing publicity of their illegal actions:
In addition, we have received information that women from the affected areas – Mary and Lebap – go on the road, asking for bread or any food. We do not know how much the life and freedom of these and other women is at risk, but we continue to monitor the situation.
We appeal to the international community, especially to the United Nations agencies:
• To provide all possible assistance to the population of the affected regions of Turkmenistan and require reporting from the authorities of Turkmenistan on the coordination of the assistance provided
• To exert pressure on the law enforcement agencies of Turkmenistan in connection with the illegal detention of women, who made known the natural disaster and humanitarian catastrophe
We demand from the authorities of Turkmenistan immediate assistance to the population of the affected regions in accordance with the law of the Republic of Turkmenistan “On the prevention and liquidation of emergency situations”
for the execution of which President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the khyakim of the Lebap velayat, the khyakim of the city of Turkmenabad are personally responsible.